Article 1: The Legislative Branch
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Article 1: The Legislative Branch

Today we will learn about Article 1 of
the Constitution. Article 1 goes over the Legislative Branch or in other words Congress. The Legislative Branch’s job is to write laws, and it is divided into two houses to get that job done. The House of Representatives who meet on this side of the Capital building and the Senate who meet over here on this side. The House of Representatives and the
Senate, each write laws, but they have a few key differences. According to Article 1, members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years, must be at least 25 years old, and have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years. They must also be a legal resident of the state they are running to represent. Each state is given a number of seats in the House based on their population, each state is guaranteed to have at
least one seat. The number of seats in the House has grown over time, as more and more states have joined the country, but in 1929, the number was frozen at 435, because the House was just getting too big to manage. Can you imagine 435 people in one room talking over each other and trying to
keep order? Speaking of keeping order, the presiding officer of the House is called the Speaker of the House and his job is to try to keep order, so laws can be debated and passed. According to Article 1 of the Constitution, Senators are elected every six years, must be at least 30 years old, and have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. They must also be a legal resident of the state they are running to represent. Each state get two Senators, and since there are currently 50 states, right now there are 100 Senators total. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice president of the United States, in this role he is known as the President of the Senate, he keeps order, but only votes on a bill to break a tie. Often the vice-president is absent from the Senate, because he is off seeing to other business, in his absence the President Pro Tempore who was chosen by the Senate as a whole, leads the Senate. The Legislative Branch is a variety of powers listed in Article 1. One is the Impeachment power, each of the two Houses play a role in removing the President from office. If the president is suspected of wrongdoing the House has the power to impeach. Impeach means accused of a crime. The Senate then has the power to hold the impeachment trial, or to decide if the president is guilty of the crime. In this sense, you could think of the House of Representatives like police, because they are the ones who accuse the president of a crime, and the Senate as a court because, they conduct the trial to
determine if the president is guilty. Congress has several powers that pertain
to money. Congress has the power to raise money by collecting taxes. Any bill that pertains to raising money is called a revenue bill; and must be originally written by the House, they are then sent to the Senate, who may edit them before sending them back to the House. Congress also has the power to borrow money by selling government bonds. Additionally, Congress has the power to
regulate interstate commerce. Interstate means between two or more states and commerce is business, so basically, Congress has the power to
oversee business between two or more states. Congress has the power to coin money, so it is at their discretion that we use pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills, of varying values. And Congress also has power over the
federal budget. Additional powers include: but are not limited to, the powers to create post offices, roads, and the federal courts, and the powers to declare war and regulate the military. Article 1 also includes a few other items: it guarantees the Writ of Habeas Corpus, or the right to appear before a judge, if you have been arrested, to hear
what crimes you’re being charged with. It outlaws Bills of Attainder, which take away a person’s right to trial, and Ex Post Facto laws, which would make laws retroactive meaning individuals could be charged with breaking a law even if their action wasn’t against the law at the time they did it. Finally, Article 1 also places some limits on the states: not allowing them to make treaties with
other countries, or coin their own money, among other restrictions


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